Tag Archives: dairy-free

Chocolate chip zucchini bread

25 Mar

chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread

This zucchini bread recipe comes from my high school cookbook – which is quite the period piece now, with its marshmallow Waldorf salad, Waikiki meatballs, ham and rice ring and “sex in the pan”.

The original recipe calls for raisins, but after substituting chocolate chips once, I’ve never switched back. It also makes two loaves. Sometimes I’ve halved the recipe by beating the three eggs together and only using half, but usually stick the second loaf in the freezer for later. Continue reading

Very spicy delicious chickpeas

21 Mar

Spicy delicious chickpeas Very spicy delicious chickpeas is one of my favourite curries, and something I’ve been making forever. It seems like an excessive quantity of spices as you’re making it, but in time the sauce transforms into something thick, rich and delicious. Continue reading

Carrot and miso soup

17 Mar

Carrot and miso soup

A bowl of vivid orange carrot and miso soup is a cheering sight on a chilly grey day. I really like how the Asian flavours of miso, ginger and sesame play against the natural sweetness of the carrots.

I’ve never seen the point of adding sugar to carrot dishes – honey-glazed carrot coins, tzimmes and the like – as they are sweet enough already. Of course, carrot cake is another matter entirely…

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Rolex

10 Mar

rolex

Ever since our World Cup cooking experience last summer, I’ve been on the lookout for new African recipes. When I came across this video about the Ugandan rolex, I thought it seemed right up our alley.

A rolex is a thin vegetable omelette rolled up in a chapati, and is a popular street food in Uganda. They proved pretty popular around here too, when I made them for brunch last weekend. Continue reading

Chicken satay sandwich

7 Mar

Chicken satay sandwich

Crispy, juicy pieces of chicken coated in spicy peanut sauce and stuffed in a bread roll or hunk of baguette, this chicken-satay sandwich makes a very satisfying dinner served with a heap of Asian slaw.

With meals like this, I always bring the elements to the table so each person can assemble their sandwich the way they like it.

I use chicken thighs, which I find more flavoursome, but chicken breasts would work fine too. The original recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Real Food. Continue reading

Avocado lentil salad

3 Mar

Avocado lentil salad

This avocado lentil salad is one of my favourite lunches, and something I make whenever I have cooked lentils leftover from another dish. Actually, I enjoy eating it enough that I sometimes cook lentils in order to make it. Continue reading

Chapatis

26 Feb

chappati

Chapatis are such an easy and satisfying thing to make, and so much better than the ones you buy. I make up the dough while my curry is simmering, then cook the chapatis when it’s almost ready to serve.

A basic chapati is made with just two ingredients – flour and enough water to turn it into a dough.  I prefer to add a pinch of salt to the flour, and use milk instead of water, which produces a softer chapati. I also work a bit of oil into the dough while I’m kneading it to make the dough more pliable.

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Chirashi sushi

14 Feb

Chirashi sushi

Chirashi sushi is an adaptable dish. It’s colourful and impressive party fare when arranged on a large serving platter, but makes a great midweek supper as well.

In the time it takes the rice to steam, I can throw together a quick Japanese omelette, soak and slice a few dried mushrooms, shred some nori and make the dressing for the rice. After that it’s just a matter of tossing things together.

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Tuna chickpea pitta sandwich

12 Feb

tuna-chickpea-salad

This simple tuna chickpea pitta sandwich is one of my lunchtime staples. I find the mix of textures particularly satisfying. It’s also low in fat and high in protein – the kind of food I’m looking for after recent indulgences.

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Chicken suya

10 Feb

Chicken suya

During our World Cup cook-off last summer, Nigeria was deliciously represented by beef suya. These proved such a hit with the whole family that Nigeria easily topped Group F in the first stage of the tournament, blew past France (salade niçoise, chocolate mousse), and obliterated Mexico (fish tacos) in the quarter-finals, before falling before Colombia’s unstoppable barras de limón.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be given a bag of authentic suya powder from a Nigerian friend and chef. I decided to try chicken suya this time, which proved to be every bit as tasty as the beef version. Continue reading

Steamed fish with Moroccan roast vegetables

7 Feb

Steamed fish with roasted vegetables

I don’t recall ever eating roasted vegetables when I was growing up – not even roast potatoes. Vegetables were boiled or steamed, possibly mashed, and served with butter. Mum had a wok (not standard kitchen equipment in those days), and would occasionally make a big Chinese stir fry, but roasting vegetables wasn’t on the radar. Continue reading

Red cabbage, carrot and herb salad

5 Feb

Red cabbage and herb salad

This quick cabbage and carrot salad is a pared-back, vegetarian take on goi ga (Vietnamese chicken salad). It’s a nice accompaniment to a piece of simply grilled fish or chicken.

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Lemony red lentil soup

31 Jan

Velvet soup

There are lots of recipes for red lentil soup out there. Having tried a few, I’ve pretty much settled on this lemony red lentil soup, which is adapted from a Sophie Dahl recipe I came across in Waitrose magazine.

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Falafel with tahini sauce

22 Jan

Falafel 2

Falafel are another standby from my student days. With one tin of chickpeas you can produce a dozen crunchy little nuggets to eat alongside a salad, or stuff in a piece of pitta bread with tahini sauce.

Traditionally, falafel are made with uncooked chickpeas or fava beans that have been soaked overnight before being  coarsely ground. This results in a nuttier texture than these falafel. While the outsides are crisp, inside they are soft – almost fluffy.

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Indonesian squash and spinach soup

20 Jan

Indonesian squash and spinach soup2

Spicy, creamy with coconut milk, and the most gorgeous deep yellow colour, this Indonesian squash and spinach soup is loved by the whole family. Plus, we have prawn crackers with it (served in individual bowls to avoid disputes over who’s had too many).

The original recipe comes from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook.

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Spaghetti bolognese

10 Jan

spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is one of those family meals I make so regularly that I no longer follow a recipe. I always start with a soffrito of onion, carrot and celery – sautéed in olive oil with a couple of cloves of  garlic.  Continue reading

Sake-soy marinated salmon

8 Jan

Sake-soy marinated salmon

Salmon is the lifeblood of British Columbia, the province in Canada where I grew up. It permeates everything – the history, culture, mythology, ecology, and economy. It feeds the people, the bears, the soil itself. It attracts tourists and sends them home with suitcases full of salmon products. Continue reading

Green lentil soup

6 Jan

green lentil soup

After a couple of weeks of indulging myself with cocktails and Christmas baking, I find myself craving things like this green lentil soup for supper.

Like many young girls, I converted to vegetarianism in my teens. This wasn’t a straightforward thing to do in northern Canada in those days. The supermarkets had only recently started selling yogurt – tofu, hummus, and soy mince had yet to arrive. There were no veggie burgers, sausages or nut cutlets in the freezer section, and Quorn hadn’t been invented.

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The Blue Christmas

1 Jan

The Blue Christmas

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#12: The Blue Christmas

All things must pass – the holiday season, our friends’ visit, the twelve cocktails of Christmas – and it seems fitting to wrap it all up with a Blue Christmas cocktail. Continue reading

A Cocktail of Two Cities

31 Dec

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#11: A Cocktail of Two Cities

This Christmas, our great friends Margo and Aaron travelled from Canada to spend holidays with us. They are both cocktail lovers, and their visit was a big part of my idea to do the twelve cocktails of Christmas.

One of our gifts to Margo was a copy of Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails With a Literary Twist. She thanked us by mixing up a round of A Cocktail of Two Cities. Continue reading

The Sazerac

30 Dec

Sazerac

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#10: The Sazerac

I’ve enjoyed listening to my Christmas in New Orleans CD throughout the holidays, which is enough of a reason to make the sazerac my tenth cocktail of Christmas.

The ones we make aren’t as authentic as you’d be served in the Big Easy – we coated the glasses with Pernod instead of absinthe and use Canadian rye whisky, although I have recently got my hands on some Peychauds bitters. Continue reading

Sloe gin negroni

29 Dec

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#9: Sloe gin negroni

Sloe gin is delicious, and sipping a little glass of it neat while watching Alastair Sim’s Scrooge discover the spirit of Christmas makes a perfect holiday afternoon.

But a shot of sloe gin isn’t a cocktail. This led to the idea of using sloe gin in a negroni – where it cosied right up with the red vermouth, and stood its ground against the bitterness of the Cinzano.

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The Harvey Wallbanger

27 Dec

Harvey Wallbanger

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#7: The Harvey Wallbanger

Essentially a screwdriver gussied up with an indulgent splash of Galliano, the Harvey Wallbanger is definitely the cocktail of Christmases past for me.

My parents always made Harvey Wallbangers during the holiday season. They probably made them year-round – the Harvey Wallbanger was a happening drink in the 1970s – but in my memory they are associated with our annual Christmas carol singing party. Continue reading

The Scarlett O’Hara

24 Dec

Scarlett O'Hara

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#5: The Scarlett O’Hara

Cranberry juice is the reason the Scarlett O’Hara makes my Christmas cocktail list – plus it’s very tasty. It’s also a good way to use up any Southern Comfort you may have lurking at the back of your drinks cabinet.

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The Dandy Shandy

23 Dec

Dandy Shandy

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#4: The Dandy Shandy

Sometimes, a beer-based cocktail hits the spot. Especially, after we’d popped into the pub for a pint after ice skating. And were having sausages and mash for dinner.

Plus the dark colour of the Dandy Shandy goes perfectly with the long, dark nights of December.

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The Sidecar

22 Dec

sidecar

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#3: The Sidecar

Now that you can buy anything year round, it seems strange to recall that when I was growing up in northern Canada, satsumas were available only during the holiday season. Getting our annual 5lb crate of mandarin oranges, as we called them, was an eagerly awaited Christmas treat.

Each orange was individually wrapped in green tissue paper, like a little present. I imagine there would have been about thirty oranges in the box – or six each – and we were allowed one a day to make them last. Sometimes I’d remove the tough skin from each segment and eat it cell by juicy little cell.

So the citrusy sidecar in its festive, sugar-frosted glass is an easy choice for my Christmas cocktail list. Continue reading

The whisky mac

21 Dec

whisky mac

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#2: The whisky mac

The whisky mac is a is a wonderfully warming mix of whisky and green ginger wine. Named after a Colonel Macdonald who invented it while serving in India, the whisky mac is a great antidote to the cold, damp British weather.

I make it with a 1:1 ratio, but some recipes call for up to three times the amount of whisky to wine.

  • a decent blended whisky, such as Famous Grouse
  • green ginger wine (Crabbie’s or Stone’s)
  1. Add equal amounts of whisky and ginger wine to a highball glass and stir to combine.
  2. Ice and shortbread optional.

 

The Santa-secco

20 Dec

The Santa-secco

The twelve cocktails of Christmas
#1: The Santa-secco

A ruby-bright, festive mix of prosecco, pomegranate juice and fresh pomegranate seeds. I love the way the bubbles cause the seeds to float to the top instead of languishing at the bottom of the glass, the way fruit usually does in a mixed drink. Continue reading

Gin and It

9 Dec

Gin and It

Well, I finally solved the mystery of gin and It this weekend… In my teens, I read a lot of British crime novels – Agatha Christie mainly. It was all quite exotic to a thirteen-year-old Canadian who’d never set foot in the UK.

Country houses where retired military men were forever being poisoned, village fetes and cricket greens, debutantes and domestic servants. And the food – tisanes, gin and It, barley water, beef tea, crumpets, violet creams. I had no idea what any of them were… Continue reading

Chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise

7 Dec

chinese chicken

I love to cook, and am happy to make my own bread, stock, ice cream, sushi or whatever. So long as the effort justifies the end result, I consider it time well spent.

But I equally love it when a only small amount of effort is needed to produce something delicious. Along with Barbados cream, Grasmere gingerbread, and sardine pesto, chicken with Szechuan pepper and star anise is one of those recipes. Continue reading

Lemongrass beef stirfry

29 Nov

Lemongrass beef stirfry

Stirfries are standard mid-week fare in our house, especially if I have beansprouts to use up. The vegetables vary with the contents of the fridge, but I always like to have carrot, peppers, onion and something green like mange tout, snowpeas or broccoli.

Marinating the beef before stirfrying adds a nice depth of flavour to the dish.

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Grilled prawns in peanut sauce

27 Nov

Satay prawns

I was undecided whether to call name this dish prawn satay, but eventually decided against it. Strictly speaking, I think that satay are grilled skewers served with a peanut sauce on the side.

This is a nice way of doing things too, and threading the prawns onto two skewers keeps them flat for grilling and helps prevent the peanut sauce sliding off.

I serve these skewers with a big green salad and a bowl of steamed rice.

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Hijiki no ni mono

23 Nov

Hijiki no ni mono

“It smells like Japan!” Lyra said when she walked into the kitchen. And so it did, that inimitable simmering dashi smell. We ate hijiki no ni mono pretty regularly when we lived in Japan. It was one of the only dishes Adam cooked and his main contribution to house meals.

Hijiki has a slightly liquorice flavour that works well with the carrots, and the chewiness of the fried tofu provides a contrast to the softness of the vegetables. It looks so pretty too… Continue reading

Nikujaga (Japanese simmered beef and potatoes)

19 Nov

nikujaga

Nikujaga (or simmered beef and potatoes) is no-frills, homestyle Japanese cooking – something a Japanese mum would make on a busy weeknight the way I might make macaroni cheese. The Japanese call this sort of cooking ofukuro no aji, which means “mother’s taste”.

There’s a nostalgia associated with these dishes – while others may cook them, nobody’s tastes quite like your mum’s version. That’s because hers tasted of home and childhood… and love. Continue reading

Sautéed potatoes

7 Nov

sautéed potatoes

I used to make sautéed potatoes quite regularly, but until recently I’d fallen out of the habit.

When one of the girls has a friend round after school, the accepted thing is to feed the child some dinner before they are collected at 6pm. Our family normally eats quite late, so for playdates I’ll usually cook a separate kids’ meal.

I play it safe on these occasions, ever since I made a little girl cry by serving her a bowl of chickpea pasta soup. Schnitzel, meatballs, pesto pasta, fish fingers and chips, sausages and mash are all good bets. Continue reading

Bloodsucking jellies

1 Nov

bloodsucking-jellies

It’s taken a while, but the UK has finally embraced Halloween. For years, ours was the lone jack-o-lantern in the neighbourhood, and four or five kids might knock on the door all evening. Last night, we had more than 150.

These days our neighbourhood association publishes a “trick-or-treat trail” of participating houses, and crowds of little witches and ghouls traipse round the route. The high street shops get in on it too, decorating their windows and handing out sweets.

This year the local dentist erected some scaffolding outside their premises to create a raised platform, and grinned maniacally at the kids as they passed below, complete with smoke machine adding to the atmosphere. Halloween is firmly on the calendar now, it would seem. Continue reading

Kale chips

30 Oct

Kale chips

I am genuinely amazed at how much both my girls love kale chips – it’s like child catnip. I cannot leave a bowl unattended for five minutes and expect a single crumb to remain. It must be a super food indeed to get children squabbling over who has eaten more than their fair share of the kale.  Continue reading

Applesauce

28 Oct

Applesauce

I love applesauce – such bright, cheerful stuff, and a great way to reduce a trug of apples from our trees down to size. Every autumn, I make several batches to freeze for the winter. Our apples are pretty tart, so I generally add some sugar, but it’s not necessary.

I always make applesauce in a pot on the hob. My mum used to make it in the pressure cooker. I’m not sure why, as it’s so quick to make, but she did. In one of my earliest memories, I was sitting at the kitchen table while Mum was making applesauce. There was a problem with the pressure cooker lid, and she called for my dad to help. Continue reading

Chickpea green bean salad

26 Oct

Chickpea green bean salad

This chickpea green bean salad completely transformed my previously poor opinion of bean salads. It’s nothing like the mixed bean salads –  tough kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and mushy tinned green beans swimming in oily vinegar – that I always avoided at potlucks and salad bars.

The recipe calls for two separate dressings  – a garlicky one for the chickpeas, and a gingery one for the green beans. If time allows, it’s worth making the chickpea part of the salad a few hours ahead so they can marinate, then doing the green beans when it’s almost time to eat.

While it’s not much extra work to make both dressings, sometimes I just make the green bean dressing, and toss it all together at the same time. Another Madhur Jaffrey recipe from my trusty World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking. Continue reading

Mapo tofu

20 Oct

Mapo tofu

Mapo tofu stirs up a lot of memories for me… Many years ago, I spent the best part of a month in China. It had only recently opened its borders to independent travellers, and hadn’t quite worked out what to do with them. This resulted in a mind-bending mixture of bewildering petty controls and anarchic freedom.

Prevented from disembarking with the other passengers on a long-distance bus journey because a particular town was off limits, we were left free to wander off along the Great Wall with a sack full of bedding and sleep overnight in a watch tower. Continue reading